SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, dedicated the historic hall that sits atop of the 3IBCT headquarters on Quad F, Schofield Barracks to the memory of Sgt. Alexander Gagalac, May 13, 2022.
Gagalac was assigned to the Bronco Brigade when he was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom after a rocket propelled grenade hit his Humvee in Hawijah, Iraq, Sept. 9, 2007.
Nearly thirty family members, close friends, and former comrades of Gagalac attended the ceremony, in addition to dozens of current Bronco and 25th Infantry Division Soldiers.
Gagalac’s brother, Alex Gagalac, paid tribute to his twin during the service by sharing stories from their adolescence, along with a serendipitous reunion from when they were both deployed to Iraq and their paths crossed in the middle of the desert.
“I was on a convoy when I heard over the radio that we were going to a do a joint mission with 25th ID,” said Alex Gagalac. “Seeing my brother in Iraq is a memory I’ll never forget, especially when he insisted on giving me a haircut.”
When Col. Josh Bookout assumed command of the Bronco Brigade the hall served as the unit gym, and although it was convenient it didn’t quite mirror the ambiance of the room.
Bookout deemed the hall to be better suited for an area where Soldiers could gather due to the intricate coffered ceilings and detailed time period Soldier paintings along the walls that flank the theatrical stage.
“This room is unique and special, and you see it once you walk in,” said Bookout. “When we started the process of naming the hall after a fallen Bronco, Alexander’s name was the one everyone kept mentioning. This room is special, just like him, and we’re honored to keep his memory alive between these walls.”
With a handful of Gagalac’s former comrades in attendance, the ceremony offered moments that revealed who Gagalac was as a person. Retired Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Mcgrath, one of Gagalac’s close friends, shared how Alexander felt returning to Iraq after going home for mid-tour leave.
“He went back for his fellow soldiers, for his friends, for his brothers, for us. Many would say this level of bravery and selflessness is what made Alexander a good Solider,” said Mcgrath. “But more importantly, this is what made him a good man and a good friend. He was my friend. I think about him every day.”
The Sgt. Alexander Gagalac Memorial Hall will serve as a place for future hail and farewells, change of command ceremonies, unit gatherings and functions, and hopefully, a place where the Gold Star Gagalac Family can return annually to celebrate the life and legacy of their son and brother.